Sunday, February 15, 2015

Peggy, Milly and Sidney come to visit

Peggy is a boxer
Peggy is a lump
when she's pleased to see you
she wags her little stump


Milly is a beauty
Milly is a dream
she'll jump in any water
the sea, a lake, a stream


Sidney is a tearaway
a feisty little chap
but you can wrap him in a blanket
and sit him on your lap


When they came to visit us
we had fun every day
and what was even better was
they came with G and A


Altogether, human and canine, the best house guests ever. I haven't seen G, he of the Gallé cat and the luminous landscape paintings, for well over twenty years, and his partner A never before, and Tom didn't know them at all, but they and their three darlings breezed into our lives with all the ease and good cheer one could hope for, bringing energy and hilarity and enormous quantities of food, we scarcely had to shop or cook at all (except that they won Tom over even more by asking him to cook them the curried mussels a second time in a week because they liked it so much), and we won't have to much for some time to come, since as well as the cold-bags of quality sausages, sacks of hard-to-get split peas and lentils, cartons of cream crackers, jars of lemon curd and sundry other things which they brought with them, and the supplies they bought here, they also made quadruple quantities of sumptuous stews, fish pies, cassoulets etc with which they filled any remaining gaps in the freezer. And there was equal generosity of laughter, conversation, reminiscing and storytelling, confidences and chitchat and generally a sense of filling in of the gaps in ways which I feel sure has done me, at least, a deep good.

They did in fact rent a gite nearby for a week out of the time they were here, concerned, of all things, that we might find the dogs too much. As if. But the gite was so horrible that they only stayed there three nights and then we prevailed on them to come back here, and we continued to eat like kings and enjoy the dogs. Peggy, Milly and Sidney are all rescue dogs, who all had difficult starts in life - Peggy, though she is already ten, only came to them two years ago and had never lived indoors before, Sidney was re-homed several times and said to be out of control. Despite their very comfortable life style, bespoke buffalo- and elk-hide collars and handmade silver medallions each with its own semi-precious cabochon setting (A's brother does silversmithing for a hobby and made them for them), they are still quite a harum-scarum pack, proper dogs. There is a sometimes a degree of tension between Sidney and Peggy, always initiated by him, she is a gentle giant but would probably make a reasonable job of squashing the life out of him if provoked beyond endurance. She in turn, though loyal and loving at home, will sometimes simply let her legs carry her off, forgetful of all else, at the risk getting lost, so she can't be off the lead too much. The beach scenes above were in fact the idyllic prelude to such episodes of fight and flight. Even Milly, who is sweetness itself, once out in a watery place especially, becomes completely absorbed and rather indifferent to any other presence, so I wasn't inclined to take them to the water mill, having horrible visions of the fast flowing river and the mill race, though G and A don't seem to worry too much, trusting her as a strong swimmer and sensible. But for all their challenges, they are marvellous dogs, because they belong to marvellous people, who have applied the same steady, patient, compassionate, robust and humorous goodness and love that they show and give in abundance in every part of their life together. 

The dogs of course return it, as well as supplying the material for an endlessly unfolding, very creative and imaginative, narrative and drama; Sidney (also known as Kidney and Pig-meat, and any other appropriate assonance) in particular is the object of many a lurid fantasy: being carried off by a buzzard while walking in the countryside, snatched by a killer whale while walking on the beach, wrapped in banana leaves and barbecued... Happily none of these things happened to him while he was here, neither were our threats to kidnap any or all of them carried out, since we could see they didn't really want to live with anyone else, and men and dogs all made their long way safely back through the winter roads up to Cherbourg, over the sea and home to South Wales, leaving us filled with good things.

 Goodbye for now, dears.


(There's a web album with even more photos of them, though many of them are nearly identical I couldn't leave any out)


Zhoen said...

Happies! With happy poems, too!

marja-leena said...

At first, from your title and the first photos, I thought you had adopted three dogs! Looks like everyone had a lot of fun. Those beach scenes are glorious.

Les said...

I thought the same as Maria-Leena, and rather relieved it was a visit - sounds like a delightful one at that. I loved the storybook open. Great pics!

Lucy said...

Thanks people, it was lovely.

No,though we felt very inclined to further dog ownership, and came in for quite a bit of teasing and urging, we are still holding out. Also, though we deeply admire them for taking on multiple dogs, we decided that even when we do take on a dog again, it will likely be just one, not a pack.

Anyway, I've changed the title to be less ambiguous!

The Crow said...

Ah - were these the three dogs in your recent haiku?

Tom looks quite at home with the dogs and they with him.

Lovely post, Lucy. Brightened my afternoon, certainly.

Anonymous said...

Glorious post Lucy. Lovely guys, but the dogs, oh the dogs! I especially like the images taken on the beach, pure joy!

Susan of herhimnbryn

Zhoen said...


Roderick Robinson said...

Eleventh line - whoops!

Anonymous said...

Lovely :D

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Crow - yes, we dog-sat a couple of times and walked them round the fields, it was chilly and blustery but wonderful, after we'd just about managed to restrain Peggy from eating the little dog on the corner!

HHB - as ever lovely to see you. They did love the beach, though shortly after those pics were taken, Peggy disappeared over the horizon, G just about caught up with her and was fairly furious with her, so A took her off on the lead for some time out, only Sidney then followed, got tangled up in her lead and attacked her, hanging onto her jowls and refusing to be separated from them, so we all headed back in some disgrace! It was still a good day out.

Z - damn, why didn't I think of that?!

RR - I know, but what's an extra foot between friends?!

Chloë - Yup!

Mailizhen said...

Oh, my goodness. Might be my favorite post ever. Those dog photos undid me (with happiness) - their soulful eyes. alison

Ellena said...

Lovely visitors. My brother and I used to fight over who's turn it was NOT to walk the dog. Our Sidney was named Axel. Quarrelsome is a soft word to describe him. Needed to attack each dog he encountered. Jumped out of the third floor to chase an other dog and survived.

Catalyst said...

As you well know, I am a cat person. But there is nothing like a dog at the beach or the shore. Great fun to watch them run and jump.

Tom looks like he's in dog (hog) heaven!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said... it, all of it, the dogs, the friends, the sea, the food, you, Tom, the haiku, all of it, and I looked up G's paintings, they're beautiful too. What marvellous connections!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and fabulous memories Lucy! You and Tom made our visit to France unforgettable, and it was lovely to see the effect that the mutts had on both of you - bringers of joy! They coped alright with the ferry home, and I even got some sleep despite the rolling and the useless anouncements on tannoy!! Glenn

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh what furry fun! Prost!

the polish chick said...

what fun! the photo of peggy with hat on warmed my cold dark heart and the description of all the foods reminded me that rather than catching up with my blogs, i ought to get some breakfast into me.

a charming post!

Marly Youmans said...

What jolly feasting and dogging-about and silly word-twisting! (And no snow--so delightful!)

YourFireAnt said...

This post made me happy just looking at the photos. What a good visit.